Twenty kilometres south of Almeida, tiny Castelo Bom preserves walled fortifications above an ancient village just 7km west of the Spanish border at Vilar Formoso. The Duke of Wellington’s forces secured the whole area during 1812 and 1813 while advancing into Spain, with Wellington himself headquartered at a house in a nearby village – hence the brown tourist sign with the incongruous English place-name “Wellington”.
Four kilometres west of Castelo Bom, the preserved medieval village of Castelo Mendo is a gem. Two headless Celtic granite pigs guard the main gateway, through which cobbled streets twist up to a grassy knoll topped by a roofless church and the sketchy remains of the castle keep. It’s a glorious spot, sitting on the lip of a sheltered bowl of land, with views across the undulating countryside.